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Laree's Slam Dunk Fanfiction
Family Ties
Part Four

" Ru-Ka-Wa!  Ru-Ka-Wa!"

" What's that?"  Sendo asked, gesturing vaguely towards the trio of girls jumping around giddily by the sidelines after Rukawa had gotten in a beauty of a shot.

" The Rukawa cheering brigade..."  Kogure muttered, rubbing his temple wearily.  The shrill squeals of those girls never failed to get to him.  " They aren't usually allowed in here while we practice.  They just distract everybody.  Especially Hanamichi.  The guy hates them."

" So why are they here now, then?"

" Akagi-san usually scares them off but he's not here this afternoon.  Some advanced classes or something like that.  I'd go over there and ask them to leave myself but to tell you the truth, they sort of frighten me!"  Kogure admitted sheepishly.

" Rukawa fanatics, huh?  What about the girl over there, standing by the doorway?  Is she one of them?"  Sendo asked.  The pretty, brown haired girl quietly watching them practice had caught his eye immediately.  Mainly  because of the way that Hanamichi carried on every time that she called out some words of encouragement.  He had a sneaking suspicion as to her identity...

" Oh, her?"  Kogure laughed softly.  " That's Akagi-san's younger sister, Haruko.  She's not as vocal as those three, but yeah, she's a Rukawa fan.  I don't think it will take that long before you have your own group of admirers, though.  I mean, you're such a great player and so handsome too."

" Kogure-kun?  Come over here and help me out with my warm ups, will you?" Mitsui asked in an overly sweet tone of voice as his hand clamped onto his wrist and pulled him away.

" But you've already finished with your warm ups, Sashi-kun!  We've-"  His words were cut off as Mitsui shoved him at Hanamichi saying that he could help the guy out with his foot work exercises then while he talked to Sendo.

Mitsui managed to get his message through with only one word.  " Mine."

Sendo nodded amiably.  " Yours."  He agreed.  Mitsui didn't really have anything to worry about anyways.  He already had his eye in somebody else.  He just had to decide what action to take next.  Guessing that it would be best for him to get to know the competition first, he discarded the basketball that he had been dribbling idly all the while and made his way towards the girl.  " Hello!"  He called out merrily.

She looked rather taken aback to be addressed by him but soon recovered herself and returned his smile.  " Hello."

He leaned against the wall beside her, his eyes following Hanamichi's movements on court as he made his way towards his team's basket.  " He's good isn't he?"

Haruko nodded eagerly.  " Yes.  Sakuragi-kun.  Shohuku is going to do very well this year, I think.  We've got such a lot of great players already and now we even have you to add to Rukawa and my elder brother, Ryota and Mitsui..."

" So you know who I am then?"

She smiled.  " How could I not?  Your team mates must be terribly disappointed, you suddenly transferring here and everything!  How did they take the news? "

" Badly."  Sendo admitted with a wry smile.  He wasn't looking forward to meeting his former team mates on court but he played to win.  No matter who it was that he was competing against.  " But it was necessary.  Couldn't be avoided."

" Why?"

" My mother was remarried and we had to move into my step father's house."

" That must be tough."  Haruko commiserated.

Sendo shrugged.  " Sort of.  I'm trying to get along with Kaede as best as I can, though sometimes he can be pretty testy."

" Kaede?  You mean on court?"

" On court.  At home..."

Haruko's eyebrows shot up at this.  " At home?"  She repeated.

" Yeah.  Kaede-kun is my step brother..."  Sendo told her, by now used to the reaction that this got from people.  It seemed as though Rukawa had never even bothered to tell anybody about the fact that Sendo was his brand new step brother, as though it would all just turn out to be a dream if nobody knew about it.

" Rukawa-kun never told me anything about that..."  Haruko reddened slightly.  " But then, he doesn't really talk that much with anybody..."

And like a seasoned politician, Sendo steered the conversation towards the subject that he was most interested in.  " Not like Hana-kun, huh?"

" No.  Hanamichi-kun is another matter all together."  There was a fond smile on Haruko's lips as she thought about her fiery red headed friend.  There's nobody else quite like him.  He's the greatest."

" The two of you are very close, huh?"

" We're close, yeah, I guess."

" You like him?"

" It's hard not to."  Haruko pointed out.

Sendo nodded in agreement.  It did seem as though Hanamichi was well know and well liked around campus because of his wacky antics and incredibly outgoing nature.  " You're right.  It is." He paused.  He cleared his throat.  " The two of you are going out?"  He asked as casually as he could manage.

For a while there was shocked silence, then she burst out laughing as though what he had just said was the funniest thing that he had ever heard in this world.  " You're joking, right?"

" No.  I just thought since the two of you appeared so close and he seemed to like you so much..."

" Hanamichi-kun and I are really good friends but I would never think of going out with him or anything..."  Haruko wrinkled her little nose in disgust.  " That would just be weird.  Sort of like dating your brother..."

" So there is nothing at all going on between the two of you?"

Haruko looked at him quizzically.  " Of course not!  Why are you asking me all this?"

Sendo shrugged.  " Just curious."  He was feeling elated.  He had nothing to worry about when it came to Haruko Akagi then!  His coast was clear and it should all be smooth sailing from here!

Of course, he really shouldn't be too happy about all of this.  The girl that Hanamichi had a crush on appeared to have no feelings for him whatsoever besides one of friendship.  That would have to hurt the red head.  Still, he couldn't help feeling a wave of pleasure at this discovery.

Pretty much nothing stood between him and Hanamichi now.

" Why are you looking at me like that, Kitsune?"

" I'm thinking that you must be really pissed."

" I am.  Stop looking at me.  I don't like you looking at me with your weird Kitsune eyes..."  Hanamichi muttered, throwing the ball hard at Rukawa who dodged it easily.

" Do'aho.  I was talking about Sendo."  Rukawa retorted, restraining the urged to throw the ball he was holding right back at the red head.

" Why should I be pissed with Sendo?"  Hanamichi demanded.  " He's not an asshole like you."

" You don't live with him."

" Anyone who's forced to live under the same roof as you would have to become an asshole to survive."  The redhead pointed out.

" Whatever."  Rukawa turned his back to him.  " I just thought that you might want to know that your little friend Sendo is making his move on Haruko..."

" What?"  Hanamichi bellowed, whirling around suddenly and catching sight of the spiky haired ex-Ryonan player leaning against the wall beside Haruko and conversing with her.  " That bastard!"

Rukawa had to work hard to suppress his smile.

" I'll kill him!"

He walked away, mentally patting himself on the back.  That had been precisely the kind of reaction that he had been expecting.  Precisely the kind that he had wanted...

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